Recently it was reported that China has shut down the news sections in many of the popular web portals.
The news first came out from social media—Weibo and Twitter—yet received barely any notice until several days later. This may be due to the fact that earlier in the month, Chinese authorities banned news organizations from getting their information from social media.
“Beidaijin,” a Twitter user, first tweeted the information on July 22 from a source identified as “Feng Xiang,” claiming that original reporting at major online news outlets is being shut down.
The same news had emerged on Sina Weibo, a popular social media platform, also on July 22.
The restrictions cover the current affairs pages of Sina, Sohu, and NetEase, known as the “three major portals,” and include both their own websites, apps, and WeChat accounts.
The censored news outlets have for years skirted around the rules that forbid them from producing their own reporting; these rules had not been enforced for over a decade. Chinese authorities are likely most concerned about content that reveals social injustice.
Chinese media were allowed to actually report the news of their own censorship on July 24, one day before it was officially announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). A CAC spokesperson in Beijing stated that the content violated regulations and brought “serious negative consequences.”
Apart from receiving warnings and monetary penalties, the outlets have been ordered to republish news from state-run news agencies, or media directly controlled by propaganda authorities, according to Beijing News.
One reason that the news may not have been reported previously relates to the ban on social media being the source of news. A new regulation CAC issued on July 3 called information obtained from social media “rumors” and “fake.”
And so it was several days until the fact that a large portion of the Chinese media had been shut down actually made the news.